Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sotomayor Hearings

Korematsu always gets mentioned in these hearings, because it's politically correct to condemn it. Here's what the transcipts say so far....

GRAHAM: I realize I'm jumping back and forth through these issues. But the last one I want to bring up has to do with the wartime Supreme Court decisions like Korematsu that we look back at with some bewilderment, of course. The Korematsu vs. the United States decision in which the Supreme Court upheld a government policy to round up and detain more than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans during World War II.

It seems inconceivable that the U.S. government would have decided to put huge numbers of citizens in detention centers based on their race and yet the Supreme Court allowed that to happen. I asked Chief Justice Roberts about this, I'll ask you as well. Do you believe that Korematsu was wrongly decided?

SOTOMAYOR: It was, sir.

GRAHAM: Does a judge have a duty to resist the kind of wartime fears that people understandably felt during World War II which likely played a role in the 1944 Korematsu decision?

SOTOMAYOR: A judge should never rule from fear. A judge should rule from law and the Constitution. It is inconceivable to me today that a decision permitting the detention and arrest of an individual solely on the basis of their race would be considered appropriate by our government.

FEINGOLD: Now, some of the great justices in the history of our country were involved in that decision. How does a judge resist those kind of fears?

SOTOMAYOR: One hopes, by having the -- the wisdom of a Harlan in Plessy, by having the wisdom to understand always, no matter what the situation, that our Constitution has held us in good stead for over 200 years and that our survival depends on upholding it.

FEINGOLD: Thank you, Judge

Someone should tell Senator Graham Korematsu involved the evacuation from the West Coast Military Zones. Detainment had nothing to do with it. Race had nothing to do with it, either - national origin did. Fear had nothing to do with it. The West Coast was a combat area and the military calls the shots in a military zone.

When a bunch of senators make such comments indicating they have no idea what they are talking about, while in the process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice - it is indeed a sad day in America.

I wonder if any of these people realize Korematsu is still good law to this day?


At November 13, 2009 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Korematsu was vacad in 1983, you idiot. How is that still a "good law" today. Get your facts straight.

At December 21, 2009 11:49 AM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

Neither Korematsu nor Hirabayashi have been overturned by the Supreme Court. However, on a coram nobis the two cases were reviewed by district federal courts in 1983 and 1985 repectively. In both cases the petitioners claimed that becuase of "newly discovered evidence" it could now be proved that the U.S. government had lied to the Supreme Court and withheld key intelligence information.

The lower court in San Francisco at the Korematsu hearings accepted this so-called "newly discovered evidence" ploy. Operating on the theory that the Supreme Court would not have arrived at its 1944 decision if this evidence had been available, the federal judge in San Francisco vacated Korematsu's conviction.

None of the offical intelligence reports issued by the U.S. intelligence community, nor any MAGIC was introduced by the government during the hearings.

Korematsu's attorney's, who were by now aware of MAGIC, seized the opportunity to request that a statement be written into the decision that there was no credible evidence that resident Japanese were involved in espionage.

Having no evidence to the contrary, Judge Patel agreed to the request.

While this was being done the U.S. Dept. of Justice attorney sat silently in the court room with a briefcase filled with MAGIC and U.S. intelligence reports. which were and absolute refutation of what the court was allowed to include in the decision.

No attempt was made to introduce any of this data because it was the government's policy at the time not to refute the case.

Regardless, lower courts cannot overrule the Supreme Court. The decisions are all good law to this day.

In a crushing blow to the JACL and the NCJAR the Supreme Court Justices on October 31, 1988, without comment, let stand the findings an appellate court that effectively put an end to courts actions for additional money (they wanted $27 BILLION!).

It also left the Korematsu and Hirabayashi cases in place. The had the opportunity to reverse the decisions and they did not.

Good law to this day.....

At March 02, 2010 12:37 PM, Blogger Nick said...

National origin does not fit for all the individuals who were born & raised in the US, but evacuated anyway. Nor does it address those living on either US coast with national origins in other Axis countries.

BTW, speaking as an individual whose relatives worked in n. California offices of the Farm Bureau, who lived in SF, and who lived in Dayton Heights, a section of "Little Tokyo" in LA, I know that on the local levels, greed & racism boosted non-Japanese-American support of the evacuation. Fear was, IMO, less a cause of the legal ruling than it was a tool used to encourage support for it.

The CA Farm Bureau had long been hostile to the JA farmers & was riddled w/racial animosity, & my close relation admitted to being part of that up until the relocations, which were obviously misguided to those who knew the people being sent off.

Actually, Dayton Heights, more racially integrated pre-war than other neighborhoods, had more examples of non-evacuated neighbors doing all they could to help the JA taken away from losing their homes, ie, renting those out & keeping taxes paid up w/the rent money, etc.

At April 29, 2010 11:15 AM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

I agree there was animosity but for what reason? This quote from the Tolan Commission provides some insight.

"These Japanese retailers have been the principal outlet for the Japanese wholesalers, since over a period of years it is well-known that the Japanese invariably give business preference to others of their own race."

"In small acreages planted primarily for local markets the Japanese grower has an advantage over the white grower that has pretty well driven the white grower out of small-scale production in many parts of Los Angeles County. These farms will average around ten acres and the Japanese farmer can and does use his wife and children for practically all his labor requirements giving him a production cost substantially below that of a small white farmer."

"I have talked to many many wholesale growers of vegetables for the local market who have either gone out of business in the past ten years or greatly reduced their operations due to Japanese competition of a type with which they could not meet and are willing to to plant increased acreage especially for the local market if they have any assurance they would not have to meet the competition of the Japanese family.

A comprehensive system of associations set up for these small Japanese farmers has enabled them to regulate market supplies and reduce prices at will, to the point that the competing white farmer has been forced out of production."

-Associated Produce Dealers and Brokers, Homer Harris

So yes there was resentment by some of the Americans and much of this resentment had been festering for decades due to Japanese collusive business practices and the fact Japanese farmers were willing to live like serfs, thus driving down the standard of living for white farmers who were not willing to live like serfs.

On the other hand, many whites in the agriculture business had much to lose by the evacuation.

"We are alarmed at the attention which is being paid to thoughtless public clamor for the whole evacuation of Japanese aliens and Japanese-American citizens from their present locations, without due regard being given to the value of their productive activity where now engaged."

-Lowell Beerry, Best Fertilizer Co.

"The partnership own outright 700 acres of land in Salinas and has approximately 5,000 acres under lese all together in Arizona and California...Unless we use oriental help we cannot farm these lands economically and efficently.

If we are unable to use Japanese in our labor camps, could we be allowed the use of our key Japanese-American formen..."

-T.M. Bunn, Salinas Valley Vegetable Exchange

"This area has been developed by Italian and Japanese gardners, mostly Japanese, especially brussels sprouts and broccoli. Our company thinks this is the best area in which broccoli can be grown in the United States.And this has been a very successful crop grown by the Japanese, and it would be very hard for us to replace this crop without the help of the Japanese."

-Barclay Henderson, B.E. Maling Inc, Produce Canning and Quick Freezing

"It is the writer;s belief that these aliens, supervised as they are by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or as they may be by additional administrative or legislative provisions, are certainly no detriment to the public security when they are digging in the soil in agricultural areas. On the contrary they are producing food, and food is something we need in abundance and without needless interruption."

--Floyd Oles, Washington Produce Shipper's Association

Lastly, the evacuation had nothing to do with farmers. It was made for prudent military reasons by knowledgeable military people in a time of total war.


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